Trips to tie in with the 100 top fiction books for high school students

Date Posted: 14/08/2015

Workshops, visits and resources to bring to life the books that all Secondary students should read before they leave school.

This month, the TES unveiled a list of the top 100 fiction books all Secondary school pupils should read before they leave school, as picked by teachers.

Classics like 1984, To Kill a Mockingbird, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies and Of Mice and Men featured in the top five. While the broader list featured a few contemporary novels like A Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games.

Any English teacher will know that it’s not always easy to get high school students to plunge into a good book. So here’s a few ideas for bringing the best novels to life, through a school trip.

Never let me go, Kazuo Ishiguro

The big screen version of this dystopian novel was filmed at Ham House in Richmond upon Thames and starred Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Kiera Knightly. The 17th century period property stood in for the novel’s fictional Hailsham boarding school. To achieve the slightly sinister undertones of the boarding school’s setting, the front laws of Ham Hall were left to grow wild and weeds were deliberately planted. Guided tours of the house and garden are available.

Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen

It’s a universally acknowledged truth that any English student studying Pride and Prejudice must visit Chatsworth. This period property in the Peak District was used as Pemberley in the film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, and it’s believed the novelist actually based Mr Darcy’s fictional estate on the building. The Sculpture Gallery, Painted Hall and exterior of the house were all used in the filming and you can still see a resin bust of Mr Darcy that was used in the film. Guided tours are available to school groups.

Dracula, Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker found some of his inspiration from Whitby when he was writing Dracula, and as a result the seaside town has its own Dracula Experience, which tells the story through a series of atmospheric rooms with dummies and – in peak season – character actors. Whitby Abbey is also name-checked in the novel, and this English Heritage property not only offers school visits, but online teaching resources, too.

Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee

It was his childhood in the Cotwolds that inspired Laurie Lee to write Cider with Rosie. In the Gloucestershire village of Slad, where Lee grew up, you can visit The Holy Trinity Church, which not only gets a mention on the novel, but also features Laurie Lee’s grave. There’s also a poetry trail that takes you around the parts of the Slad Valley that inspired Lee the most.

Lord of the Flies, William Golding

The Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s production of Lord of the Flies will commence a tour of the UK this September, stopping at venues including the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield and the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford. An education pack is available to complement a school visit to the show that includes resources for cross-curricular study, including Art, Drama, Dance, English, Geography and Maths. The theatre company also offers pre-performance workshops called From Page to Stage.

Face, Benjamin Zephaniah

This novel, about a teenage boy who endures facial injuries after a joyriding accident, ties in with Key Stage 3 English and themes of characterisation in particular. Although there’s no museum dedicated to either Face or Zephaniah’s poetry work, the writer supplies several links on his website to educational organisations that promote poetry in young people. Apples and Snakes is one of these programmes. It offers everything from performances for young people and teacher training to online resources for lesson plans.

To discover trips linked to the top books every Primary pupil should read before they start Secondary, read our Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tops teachers’ book poll article.

Picture credit: VisitEngland/Chatsworth House/Matthew Bullen

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